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NY Times Obtains Surveillance Camera Videos for LV Shooter

The New York Times has obtained new surveillance camera videos of Stephen Paddock's last days at the Mandalay Bay before carrying out the Las Vegas shootings.

The videos add nothing to deciphering Paddock's motives. He acts normal, his interactions with staff are normal, even when he's alone in the elevator the cameras don't capture anything odd.

The Times labels the videos:

"unnerving because it ends in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

That may be, but they are not the deadliest mass killings in modern American history. More than 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks. As for domestic killings, more than 168 people died in the OKC bombing and more than 500 were injured.

Congress could disregard the Second Amendment entirely and outlaw the possession and purchase of all guns and rifles and we'd be no safer. Bombs can kill more people than guns. [More...]

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Paddock's Estranged Brother Bruce Arrested in LA on Unrelated Matter

Stephen Paddock's estranged brother (not the one who talked to the press and went to Las Vegas to be interviewed)is in custody on a child p*rn allegation.

Bruce Paddock, 58, was detained at a Los Angeles assisted-living facility, where he was awaiting surgery for spinal stenosis. He had not yet been booked, and no other details were available.

An attorney who Paddock said had represented him in criminal matters in the past told NBC News he is no longer representing Paddock and declined comment.

Bruce had not been in contact with Stephen in 10 years, so I don't see how this is relevant to the Las Vegas shootings, any more than his father's past as a bank robber.

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FBI Releases Sandy Hook Documents

The FBI today released about 1,500 pages of documents relating to interviews in the Sandy Hook shooting. You can view them here.

I skimmed them and didn't learn anything new. Most of the documents are blacked out, and the interviews that are not seem to be those we've read before (although from the media, not the FBI.) There are a few Connecticut state police reports, which were previously available, basically saying we'll never know what caused Adam Lanza to go on the shooting spree.

There are numerous references to Adam having Asperger's but that's not an explanation for his behavior. Personally, I would have liked to see what his mother's family members and brother said, but given the blackouts, it's hard to connect the interviews to a particular person.

There's simply not much new here.

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Las Vegas Sheriff's Latest Update

Here is the interview with the Sheriff today from Las Vegas on the Mandalay Bay shootings.

He sounds defensive and nervous -- his voice is shaky. At the end, after reading accounts from victims, he begins to tremble, an associate puts his hand on his shoulder, and he ends the conference with "Vegas Strong" and takes no questions.

His explanation of the timeline made no sense to me -- probably because he doesn't describe events in order. He talks about one thing and then backtracks and then goes forward. And in his effort to avoid mentioning Paddock by name, he doesn't clearly distinguish between items, such as a "barricaded door" an "open door" and "the suspect's room." As to the security guard: [More...]

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LV Security Guard Shot Before Paddock Began Shooting From Windows

Here is the video of the Las Vegas Sheriff Department media update today on shooter Stephen Paddock.

Update: I'm not going to write a third post about this tonight, so I'll just update this one with what I think may be the significance of this news, having thought about it for a few hours:

I am now thinking the concert was not Paddock's target at all. He may have still been in prep mode, methodically assembling his gear for a planned attack somewhere in Vegas the next day or even the day after that, when he was surprised by the security guard outside his door. The cameras may just have been to make sure no one intruded on him while assembling his stuff. The appearance of the guard, and his shooting of him at 9:59 p.m. may have caused him to realize the gig was up and he'd be discovered shortly. So instead of abandoning his mission entirely, he just assembled what he could as fast as he could, broke out the windows and started shooting. [More...]

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Las Vegas Shooter Update

There's been all sorts of news updates on Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock over the weekend, none of which seem to offer a clue into his behavior.

One worthwhile interview I saw was that of Steve Wynn, the billionaire owner of many Las Vegas hotels. (Corrected: He built the Mirage but no longer owns it.) He said his staff was very familiar with both Paddock and Marilou Danley and they were as "vanilla" as could be -- no flags at all.

He says Paddock didn’t run up debts or have a gambling problem. Wynn said butlers, waiters and massage employees knew Paddock and his girlfriend.

The main thrust of his interview was the difference in security tactics at the Mirage and other hotels. [More...]

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Anthony Weiner Sentenced to 21 Months

Anthony Weiner was sentenced to 21 months in his sexting case.

He pleaded guilty, pursuant to a plea agreement with the Government, to a one-count Information, charging him with transferring obscene material to a minor from January through March 2016, in violation of 18 USC 1470. The statute prohibits “knowingly transfer{ing] obscene matter to another individual who has not attained the age of 16 years, knowing that such other individual has not attained the age of 16 years, or attempt[ing] to do so.”

His guideline range would have been 135 to 168 months but the statutory maximum for the crime he pleaded to was 10 years, so that made his guideline range 120 months. The Government and Weiner agreed that a sentence within the range of 21 to 27 months’ imprisonment would be fair, but Weiner was allowed to argue for a lesser sentence, including probation.

According to the Government's brief, Probation had recommended 27 months. So he got the bottom of the agreed upon range. He will voluntarily surrender to whatever facility or institution is designated by the Bureau of Prisons on November 2.

The Government said in its brief that it does not contend that Weiner engaged in inappropriate exchanges with other minors "or that he is a pedophile."[More...]

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El Chapo's New Legal Team

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has hired private counsel to represent him on the Indictment in the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

I think the federal defenders representing him until now have done an outstanding job. But I also think the private lawyers he hired are excellent. Who are they?

Jeffrey Lichtman, Marc Fernich (both in New York), Eduardo Balarezo (Washington, DC) and William Purpura (Baltimore).

While the media mentions in passing Balarezo was involved in the recent case of Alfredo Beltran-Leyva (sentenced to life a few months ago), I think his addition is significant. [More...]

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OJ Simpson Granted Parole

Update: the vote was unanimous for parole among the four board/commission members. Each spoke individually. They said their vote was fair and consistent.

Update: Looks like OJ will get parole. They have a Florida parole officer explaining the procedures for transfer from Nevada to Florida.

OJ told his version of the robbery he was convicted of during the hearing. It's live on CNN and other channels now.

My view: OJ should get and will get parole. [More...]

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Hospital Shooter Was Disgruntled Doctor Who Worked There

Another incidence of a mentally troubled shooter:

A disgruntled doctor armed with an assault rifle and wearing a lab coat went on a rampage in the Bronx hospital where he had worked on Friday, killing a female doctor and wounding six other people — five of them seriously — before setting himself on fire and shooting himself in the head, the authorities said.

Who in their right mind sets themselves on fire? What a painful way to die.

Witnesses described medical workers ripping a fire hose from the wall to use as a makeshift tourniquet on one victim’s leg, while others recalled the horrific sight of the gunman, his torso aflame, running down a hallway.

Here's a photo of the shooter, Dr. Henry Bello. He resigned when he learned he was to be fired, apparently over a sexual harrassment allegation.[More....]

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Cosby Mistrial: The Right Call

The Judge declared a mistrial in the Bill Cosby trial today. I think it was the right call, given the inconsistencies in the accuser's testimony:

The defense seized on inconsistencies in the version of events Ms. Constand gave when she went to the police the next year, and statements she made later on: She said the assault took place in March 2004, after dinner at a restaurant, then said it occurred earlier, unconnected to the restaurant outing; she said the incident had been the first time she had been alone with Mr. Cosby in his home, then said it was the third time, and that she had rebuffed his sexual advances the first two times; she said she had minimal communication with him after the incident, then acknowledged many contacts.


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Bill Cosby Jury Says They Are Deadlocked

Bill Cosby's jury told the judge today they are deadlocked. He told them to keep deliberating, and gave the Allen (dynamite) charge.

I just heard a recap from CNN's reporter and I can certainly understand why the jury hung. From CNN (no link due to autoplay video):

The jury -- which has deliberated for about 31 hours in all -- is made up of four white women, six white men, one black woman and one black man. They were bused in from Allegheny County near Pittsburgh and have been sequestered in a hotel for the trial.

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Schapelle Corby Goes Home to Australia

12 years after a court in Bali found her guilty of importing 4 kilos of pot into Indonesia, a charge she has always denied, Schapelle Corby is going home.

On October 8, 2004, Schapelle Corby, traveled with her half-brother and two friends from Brisbane, Australia to Bali. They were going on a holiday, to visit their sister Mercedes, who lived in Bali and was turning 30. She checked her boogie board as oversized luggage at the airport in Brisbane. It was not weighed. The flight stopped in Sydney, and then went on to Bali. Going through customs, the bag seemed heavy and police opened it. There was 4.1 kilos of pot inside. Schapelle acknowledged the boogie board and bag were hers. She denied knowing there was pot in it, and had no idea how it got there.


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Anthony Wiener Pleads Guilty

Anthony Weiner pleaded guilty today to transferring obscene material to a minor.

DOJ's press release is here. He pleaded to an Information, before indictment. The parties estimate his guidelines to be 21 to 27 months. He gave up his right to appeal a sentence within that range.

He was released on bond pending sentencing. He also has to forfeit his iPhone.

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El Chapo: The Non-Daughter and Non-Lawyer

How annoying for El Chapo's wife Emma and El Chapo that this young woman keeps showing up at court appearances claiming to be El Chapo's daughter and talking to media about how she misses her dad, when the family says he doesn't recognize her and has never lived with her or spent time with her. Her birth certificate shows someone else as her father. El Chapo has denied he's her father. She's been around a while with her claims, many of which have been proven false. Could she be a daughter of El Chapo? Yes. Could she be one that has spent time with him or anyone in the family and is recognized by him? Unlikely, given the number of El Chapo's close relatives who deny it.

Another person not to give credence to: José Luis González Meza, 73 year old histrionic activist-lawyer from Mexico who attends court appearances gets himself on the media with things like asking Trump to send El Chapo back to Mexico. He does not represent El Chapo. [More...]

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